WINFIELD – The Abilene Cowgirl tennis program was well represented during the medal ceremony at the Class 4A State Tennis Tournament Saturday afternoon in Winfield.
The North Central Kansas League champion Cowgirls qualified both singles players and their number one doubles pair at the Abilene Regional to wrap up the 2019 season at the State Meet. Shiann Olberding and Allie Cross qualified for the singles championship while Abi Lillard and her partner Maddie Beswick earned a first round bye in doubles as they finished second at the Abilene regional.
Abilene senior Shiann Olberding represented the Cowgirls for the fourth time in her high school career. Olberding, who had played doubles the past three seasons, qualified for the 4A singles bracket this season. Finishing fourth in the Abilene regional, Olberding headed to Winfield expecting to meet up with a fifth place qualifier from a different regional tournament. The Abilene regional winners were seeded as the highest-ranking singles contestants.
Olberding met up with Miranda Carrete of Paola in her opening match and won both sets by 6-0, 6-0 scores. She then advanced to her second match against the fourth overall seeded Gracen Friess of Parsons. It was a battle that Olberding won 6-7(7-2), 6-4, and 11-9. This was a huge win for Olberding that propelled her into the quarterfinals.
The next round saw Olberding fighting against high seed Isabella Sebtis of Wichita Trinity Academy. Sebtis, the eventual fourth place finisher, defeated Olberding 6-4, 6-4.
Moving to the backside of the bracket, Olberding defeated Mariel Allen of Bishop Miege 9-7. She then was paired against a familiar opponent from the Abilene regional in Hesston’s Halle Krehbeil, the overall number one seed. Krehbeil got by Olberding 9-6 to send her to the seventh place match against another Abilene regional medalist in Aliyah Fredrick from Buhler. Fredrick won the match 9-5 and Olberding accepted the eighth place medal.
Sophomore Allie Cross appeared in her first state tournament after placing fifth in the Abilene Regional. Cross fell to Allen of Bishop Miege 7-5, 6-0 in the first round and then Hayden’s Renn Calhoon 9-6. Calhoon went on to place ninth in the state.
In doubles, Lillard and Beswick watched the opening round with a bye but fell in their first match on the court to the eventual third place medalists from Wichita Collegiate Gentile/Yoakum 6-1, 6-2.
The Abilene pair won their next two matches to guarantee them a medal round performance. First, they defeated Beth/Daly of Fort Scott 9-3 then they battled Shultz/Farris of Parsons 9-6 to advance. In their next match, Lillard/Beswick went up against Dodson/Marquez from Independence. The Indy pair won the battle 9-6. That loss sent them to the 11th place match against Chiabot/Parsons from El Dorado. The Abilene duo got the 12th place medal after a 9-0 loss.
Emma Mantovani from Collegiate won gold in singles over Circle’s Annabelle Adams 5-7, 6-3, 6-1. Mantovani entered the tournament as the third seed from the Wichita Collegiate regional. In doubles, Aufdengarten/Rusk of Wellington took home first place with a 2-6, 6-3, 7-5 win over Collegiatte’s Lair/Conrad.
Collegiate won the team award with 55 points followed by Buhler (33) and Hayden (23). Abilene finished in a tie for eighth place with Bishop Miege and Wichita Trinity with 12 points.